Now (Maxwell album)

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Now
Nowalbumcover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 14, 2001
Recorded2000-2001
GenreR&B, neo soul
Length50:15
LabelColumbia
ProducerMUSZE (Maxwell)
Maxwell chronology
Embrya
(1998)
Now
(2001)
BLACKsummers'night
(2009)
Singles from Now
  1. "Get to Know Ya"
    Released: 2001
  2. "Lifetime"
    Released: October 16, 2001
  3. "This Woman's Work"
    Released: January 2002

Now is the third studio album by American R&B singer Maxwell. It was released on August 14, 2001, by Columbia Records.[1] Following the lukewarm commercial performance of his 1998 record Embrya, Maxwell pursued a different direction while recording Now, abandoning the conceptual style of his previous albums.[2]

Now received positive reviews and sold over 296,000 units in the U.S. in the first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while earning Maxwell his first number-one album on the Billboard 200. The album's second single "This Woman's Work", a live staple of Maxwell's,[3] charted at number 58 on the Hot 100 and at number 16 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[4][5] Now was Maxwell's last album before an eight-year hiatus, which culminated in the release of his fourth studio album BLACKsummers'night (2009).[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[7]
Boston Herald4/4 stars[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[9]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[10]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[11]
Mixmag5/5 stars[12]
Q3/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[14]
Sound & Vision4/5 stars[15]
USA Today3/4 stars[16]

Now received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 78, based on 11 reviews.[17] In Entertainment Weekly, Tom Sinclair found Maxwell's New Age spiritual musings to be outside the R&B mainstream and said "as mellowed-out as much of Now is, it's definitely not aural wallpaper, but a cohesive effort that rewards repeated listenings".[10] Boston Herald critic Sarah Rodman said Maxwell had made the "truly terrific" Prince album the artist himself was no longer making while continuing to "distinguish himself from the current glut of overwrought and under- erotic r & b lotharios with his retro, almost absurdly soulful ways".[8] Daryl Easlea from BBC Music highlighted the cover of the 1989 Kate Bush song "This Woman's Work" and deemed the album "grown-up, frequently gorgeous music that epitomises the very best in neo-soul".[18] Greg Kot from the Chicago Tribune found Maxwell's lyrics far more straightforward than Embrya's "almost impenetrable" songs, while applauding his ability as a singer to achieve an "enlightened empathy" that "neither panders nor demands" to his fictitious lovers.[19] James Hunter wrote in The Village Voice that Maxwell and Stuart Matthewman had avoided the gratuitous productions of Embrya in favor of more grounded music, against which the singer performed masterfully. "He is, as throughout Now, a soul singer who knows precisely what he's doing", Hunter wrote.[20] Fellow Village Voice critic Robert Christgau gave Now an "honorable mention" in his review column, singling out "Temporary Nite", "This Woman's Work", and "Lifetime" as its best songs, while writing that Maxwell "can't outbeat D'Angelo, so he works on outsinging and outsonging him".[21]

In a less enthusiastic review for PopMatters, Mark Anthony Neal said Now was one of 2001's "most accomplished R&B recordings", but qualified his praise by finding some of the music unadventurous and not indicative of the artistic maturity Maxwell seemed to show on Embrya.[1] Miles Marshall Lewis was more critical in LA Weekly, believing the singer was "not Prince" and had regressed musically with Now, throughout which "the quiet storm of Maxwell's signature sound becomes damn near somnolent".[22] Teresa Wiltz of The Washington Post said the record predictably followed his previous albums' formula of "moody musings" on romance and heartbreak, funky musical backdrops, and pleading vocals; Wiltz lamented Maxwell's inability to "stretch beyond his self-imposed limits" on record, as she believed he had "to spectacular effect" at his concerts.[23]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Hod David, Stuart Matthewman, and Maxwell (MUSZE) unless otherwise noted..

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Get to Know Ya" 4:22
2."Lifetime" 5:29
3."W/As My Girl" 3:11
4."Changed" 4:07
5."NoOne" 4:41
6."For Lovers Only" 3:41
7."Temporary Nite" 4:22
8."Silently" 5:20
9."Symptom Unknown" 5:37
10."This Woman's Work"Kate Bush4:00
11."Now/At the Party"" 5:25

On physical copies, "Get to Know Ya" is separated into two tracks: the first four seconds on track 1, followed by the rest of the song on track 2. The album packaging simply lists the song as track 1, with "Lifetime" as track 3. On digital copies, "Get to Know Ya" is one track, as listed above.

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from AllMusic.[24]

  • David A. Belgrave – marketing
  • Mitchell Cohen – A&R
  • Maxwell – drum programming, horn arrangements, producer (credited as "musze")
  • Michael Bland – drums
  • David Blumberg – harp arrangement, string arrangements
  • Bruce Bouton – pedal steel
  • Steve Conover – assistant engineer
  • Tom Coyne – mastering
  • Hod David – bass, drum programming, guitar, keyboards
  • Andy Davies – engineer
  • Bill Esses – engineer
  • Paul J. Falcone – drum programming, engineer, Pro-Tools
  • Mark Fellows – editing
  • Clark Gayton – trombone
  • Drew Griffiths – engineer
  • Jason Groucott – assistant engineer
  • Bashiri Johnson – percussion
  • Eric Johnson – photography
  • Tony Maserati – engineer
  • Steve Mazur – engineer
  • Daniel Milazzo – assistant engineer
  • Michael Neal – bass
  • John O'Mahoney – assistant engineer
  • Flip Osman – assistant engineer
  • Matt Owens – art direction
  • Mike Pela – engineer, pro-Tools
  • Federico Pena – keyboards
  • Larry Phillabaum – engineer, pro-Tools
  • Chris Ribando – engineer
  • Andre Roberson – horn arrangements, saxophone
  • Iain Roberton – engineer
  • Tom Schick – engineer
  • Etienne Stadwijk – keyboards
  • Wah Wah Watson – guitar

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
position[25]
US Billboard 200 1
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 1
French Albums Chart 37
Dutch Albums Chart 27
Norwegian Albums Chart 35
Swedish Albums Chart 12
Switzerland Albums Chart 64
UK Albums Chart 46

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[26] Platinum 1,000,000^

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Neal, Mark Anthony. Review: Now. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  2. ^ Jones, Steve. "Maxwell Says He's Ready 'Now' to 'Get to Know Ya'". USA Today: D.08. August 20, 2001.
  3. ^ Leroy, Dan. Review: Now. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  4. ^ "The Billboard Hot 100 - Maxwell - This Woman's Work - Chart Listing For The Week Of jun 29 2002". Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  5. ^ "The Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs - Maxwell - This Woman's Work - Chart Listing For The Week Of jul 06 2002". Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  6. ^ Kellman, Andy Review: BLACKsummers'night. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-07-19.
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Review: Now. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  8. ^ a b Rodman, Sarah. "Review: Now". Boston Herald: S.23. August 31, 2001. Archived from the original on 2009-09-25. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). "Maxwell". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 5 (4th ed.). MUZE. p. 582. ISBN 0195313739.
  10. ^ a b Sinclair, Tom. Review: Now. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  11. ^ Weingarten, Marc. Review: Now. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  12. ^ "Review". Mixmag. October 2001. p. 177.
  13. ^ "Reviews". Q. October 2001. p. 127.
  14. ^ Berger, Arion (August 30, 2001). "Recordings: Maxwell, Now, 3 Stars". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 5, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  15. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (August 2001). "Music". Sound & Vision. Vol. 66. p. 134.
  16. ^ Jones, Steve; Gardner, Elysa (August 21, 2001). "Take a chance on Maxwell Branch explores the sound of untainted youth". USA Today. p. D.04. Retrieved October 5, 2016. (subscription required)
  17. ^ "Reviews for Now by Maxwell". Metacritic. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  18. ^ Easlea, Daryl (July 24, 2012). "Review of Maxwell - Now". BBC Music. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  19. ^ Kot, Greg (September 28, 2001). "Neo-soul grows and grooves". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  20. ^ Hunter, James. Review: Now. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (September 18, 2001). "Consumer Guide: Minstrels All". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  22. ^ Lewis, Miles Marshall (September 12, 2001). "Now's the Time?". LA Weekly. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  23. ^ Wiltz, Teresa. "Review: Now". The Washington Post: C.01. August 22, 2001. Archived from the original on 2009-09-25. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  24. ^ "Now – Maxwell | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  25. ^ www.billboard.com-album-maxwell
  26. ^ "American album certifications – Maxwell – Now". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]